Tuesday, December 23, 2014

homesick at Christmas

 Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. 
 ~Carol Nelson

As overseas missionaries, we did find ourselves homesick at Christmas, missing the special events of the season, missing our families and friends.  But being back in the US this year, it's pretty obvious that it's not just those who are far away from home who feel this Christmas homesickness.  Maybe every human feels a little nostalgia, a longing for what used to be, or for what never was; the ideal Christmases of our youth, or of our children's youth.

Maybe that longing echoes a greater homesickness that we share in common; not for a moment in time, or for a warm hearth, but for our eternal home.  A homesickness for glory, for our beautiful Savior, for the peace and sinless perfection of our REAL home.

Sometimes storm clouds block our view of Home. Tossed and flurried, eyes on the waves and the upheaval in life, whether it’s political strife, or negative attitudes, or more laundry on top of more appointments, or sickness, I forget about HOME and about seeing Jesus, and about the cross that paved our way there. But HOME is no less real because of the distractions.

And the One Who slept in the manger in Bethlehem, who spoke peace to the waves, who hung on that cross and lives again is preparing a place there for us. One of these days we’ll be going Home.

"In My Father's house are many dwelling places;
 if it were not so, I would have told you; 
for I go to prepare a place for you...” 
 John 14:2

This Christmas, we can look with faith toward that Homecoming, when we will see our Emmanuel face to face.  Until that day, may we be ever ready to share His Word which illumines the path Homeward.

*edited from the archives

Friday, December 19, 2014

all quiet on the home front

Life in the U.S. is just not as exciting to blog about.
We see many of you on a regular basis, and you know what we're up to and how we're doing!

But for those of you who are going through withdrawal from more details,
the following is for you.

Elise and Amy have completed their first semester at college.  
They've worked hard, made friends,
and assimilated into a student body of 20,000 pretty smoothly
for a couple of MKs*.
(*MKs - missionary kids)
Amy and Elise pose in front of their dorm building with Mark's mom who honored us with a visit
They are pretty happy to be on break, but are already buying books for next sem.
Michael's finished his first semester of high school,
and has been using his extra time to play some disc golf,
learn archery, 
and cut into new foam board
to create small r/c planes perfect for the front yard.

Mark and Michael do a Saturday airplane build together

Michael flies his Mini Scout in the front yard
December in Georgia means that it's cotton-pickin' time.

I had never seen fields and bales of cotton before coming to Georgia!
  It also means that it's time to put up some Christmas lights,

Michael does the high parts for Mark who doesn't like heights...
 ...and to bake Christmas treats.

Time for family ping-pong tournaments...
  (with thanks to Sunju for the perfect-sized dining room table, 
and to A&J for the removable ping pong net!)

Though it's been a busy season for Mark in his work,

it's been a delight to hear the voices of all our kids laughing together again,
and to see Amy and Elise have the time to read
and practice driving, and exercise creativity.

And now it's almost time for Christmas...
for a remembrance of the coming of our Savior,

and a reminder to come and adore Him,
for He alone is worthy!

photo thanks to Kay Heritage ♥
We wish you all a season of joy!

Good news from heaven the angels bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven.

~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

moonlight shadows

photo courtesy Seed Company

'I feel that I have spent my life seeing the Bible by moonlight--
as if seeing the shapes and shadows of things, 
but not the details of what is really there. 
Now it is as if someone has turned a huge spotlight on the Scriptures. 
For the first time in my life 
I can see clearly what is in the Bible.'

-new recipient of God's Word in his own heart language